ALBUM REVIEW: Modenine - Above Ground Level
This album is for those who are not my fans, saying Mode is stiff, Mode 9 is stubborn. I’ve decided to give them the commercial version of Modo”, - Mode 9
There are certain monuments in Nigerian hip hop that just can’t be joked with fam and Mode is at the top of that list. The legend has however decided to bless us mere mortals with another album. And this time bros says he has gone commercial to please gentlemen who don't like rap but love to air their irrelevant opinions on a topic which they don’t grasp and ladies who claim they love rap but have Ariana Grande and Iggy Azelea lyrics quoted in their twitter bios.
Anyway to achieve this, the god has decided to team up with the likes of Don Jazzy and Ice Prince ( who is sort of like the contrapositive mode 9 in lyrical strength and catchy flows) and some other radio friendly artistes to achieve this. So here goes
This thing has 40 songs but imma do just the first 21(which is too much) .download the other 19 bonus joints and form your own opinion b
1 In The Sky
Starts with a little spoken word skit then someone in the background saying its "Mode9 and not a damn thing changed" (Strange right? considering he said this album isn’t for his fans) Straight out the block Mode9 decides to give Rihanna and her fans an SS1 Physics lesson. Mode goes on to say how HAM he is going to go (on the album?). The three verses are basically Mode reminding his fellow rappers that not only is he Above Ground Level (their level) he is actually in the sky. Beat is alright. Solid song
2 Dobale Intro ft Mikko Kappanen
This might be the most irrelevant 24 seconds on any album fam.
3 Dobale Ft Gentle
When this song starts I had to double check to see if it was 2face on the feature. Anyway it starts and Mode 9 continues where he left off on ' In the sky' reminding us once again(it’s getting tiring tho) that he’s number one "hip-hops traditional ruler" and others should dobale for him. Says he gets a milli for a collabo (hmmmm...fantasy bars mode?). Never heard mode use weaker punchlines on any song, with lines ending with "go hug transformer" you would think Ice prince ghost wrote this. That Gentle guy holds his own though. He finishes the song strongly. Don’t approve of this one tho but it has its radio appeal and the people who he says this album is targeted at will like it.
* (Track 20) Superhuman ft Canibus
Put this here cause some of y’all may not have the patience to read to the end but had to bring this epic rap song to your attention.
Soon as I seen Canibus on the feature I got mad excited. I’m like this is the same man that went toe to toe with Wu-tang on that famous cypher. But when song comes on and I hear the beat that Teckzilla laced up for this one, it was euphoric, my soul exulted like I was transported back into 94 on some luxurious velvet sofa. Then Canibus comes on and spits that dragon fire from his mouth like he upset about something. Was mad scared for Mode9, like how do you flow after that? No matter what you spit you might end up like Jay Electronica on control after that Kendrick verse. But Mode9 just validated why he above ground level with a respectable verse. This is Real rap in god mode fam ..no corny punchlines just pure cocaine. The kind of song that makes you reevaluate your priorities in life
4 I see ft Ice Prince
Speaking of Ice, He makes an appearance on this one and to be honest this song sounds like a song left out of Everybody Loves Ice prince. There could not be a more basic reggae beat ever made in the history of basic reggae beats like the one on this song. I couldn't listen to the end *skip* but everybody I sampled it for actually were bumping their heads to it. Different strokes, Different folks
5 Some More ft Don Jazzy
Urghhh..NVM.. This song is for those who are not his fans, saying Mode is stiff, Mode 9 is stubborn. He decided to give you a commercial song and he brought commercial music’s finest beat maker.
- No Be Ashawo
Mode 9 gets into a club and spots this hot chic with Brazilian hair and proceeds to chat her up cos he wants to take her home but wants us to believe she is not an ashawo (yeah yeah mode, we know.) beat is decent, nothing to scream about but not weak. There’s some guy on the chorus who I think let the song down. I kind of dig it, but it’s not really special anyway. Chill and enjoy
- Mr Babatunde ft. Gentle
Babatunde Olusegun Adewale decided to make a song and name it after himself and praise himself on it.Narcissist much. To be honest I think this song should have had a video and promoted properly. This Gentle guy providing some of the better moments on this album and comes good too.
- Best shape of my life ft Jamie
Mode opens up here and flexes his storytelling skills. Beat is laced with a backdrop that really let him stretch his creative wings. And you can see he is in the mood. Paints a vivid picture. I just closed my eyes and walked with him. But is he really in the best shape of his life like he claims? He sounds a lil bitter. This is one of the best songs on the album.
9 Where Una Dey ft XY
After a slow start, album is finally beginning to pick up on the storytelling. Mode is asking where his fans and some friends been dey wen things went really black for him. And how he still tryna blow and aint ever gon quit yo. Sit back and enjoy. 9ice on this song would have made perfect sense. The story told here would have been a perfect fit. But whoever this XY guy is good, He didn’t do bad
10 Oyea Rappers ft Reminisce
Out the block Mode addresses the Nigerian pop head congregation for not copping his album and talking about how he gone commercial (backlash from the don jazzy single which came early?). Would have said straight up this is arguably one of the top5 best verses dropped by any rapper this year till he somehow says ''im marvellous, no benjy
ko si bi mo ti le bust to, I know modenine gon murk me!" says reminisce as he gives a solid showing. Mode comes back on and peep what he did with the Hyper-boling line to close out the song. Now that’s what word play should like not balling like bafana, gabbana and Ghana. This song is a typical example of flow vs content in a rap song...lots of people gon hear reminisce's flow and say he murked 9.. but this only proves Mode is AGL yo. Flowing is easy. Task yourself and write meaningful things let’s see....anyway its a JAM!!!!!
11 King Kong
*skip* .. Same subject matter .. boring flow ..potent worldplay.. like a thousand other modo songs
12 One two ft Zaina
Good natured love song which immediately reminds me of Lil Flip's 2004 hit 'sunshine'. Mode gives the song some personality and Zaina holds her hook and chorus properly. Great beat which switches superbly at intervals. Kinda jam you listen to as you hold yo girl hand and walk down a park.
13. Which Kind Love ft Praiz.
Mode teams up with one of the Mode 9's of Rnb. But this one sold out with mercy. A song about a one sided loveless love affair. I think Praiz was wasted on this beat. We know the man can sing and you can rap. Do something epic. Push yourself. Both of you are great. The song is almost as tired as I am at reviewing this track.. But don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice song. But I haven’t been waiting 13 tracks for the Praiz feature to get this.
14Gaskia ft Ruby Gyang
Soon as the beat comes on I think its kinda of average. Mode comes on and I think ok, just cool. Nothing to scream about till Ruby Gyang comes on and owns the song. Don’t understand anything she says but I’m almost hoping she takes the song till the end. But nahh Mode comes on again and I almost go to sleep. Album has too many songs .. What’s all this.
15 Last Man Standing ft Amaka
Song wouldn't be out of place on the Gangs of New York soundtrack. Go figure
16. Not my Famalam
Same with the recurring theme of the album. But he makes a valid point 'game is constipated with one kobo rappers and needs an enigma'.
17. Touring ft Zeus,Chub heights,Dj Raiko
Mode goes to the continent (SA and Botswana) this time for help and boy do they come good. Taking real hip hop on a tour in this song and they rolling stones like jagger on this jewel. Why Mode had to keep the best songs on this album towards the end remains a mystery. Tune
18, Kere Si Numba ft 9ice
Song is ruined by 9ice crying wokere anytime his voice comes on. What was the point of getting him on this song? The song that he was needed on, Mode didn’t call him up. APart from that, song would have been decent.
19 Hip Hop is me ft Proverbs
To be honest after hearing Proverbs verse I’m like ' I been sleeping on a jewel' boy can rap. Mode opens up with the best opening to a verse on this album.Talmbout how he misses when rap fans went ooh and ahh on cyphers and not being wowed by the jewels and cars rap this corny rappers be putting out, “most rappers got the swag of suarez they bite right ?' rapping like they can’t write they need a textbook (nuff said) that opening is all I beeeeeen saying for years. Thank you Modo. HIP HOP IS ME. HIP HOP IS YOU, and if you choose to accept all that mediocre (c) rap on the radio now, it’s on you. People like mode and Kendrick still doing it the proper way. Jam !!!!
20 Superhuman ft Canibus : Already shared my thoughts on this. FIRE
Perfect way to end the album, addressing the new generation and how sometimes the tweets and criticism get to him and how it makes him think about turning his back on the hip hop culture. And how he only gets love on blogs and album ratings. Thinking about what would be the reaction if he had to say goodbye and if we would replace him (with whom?). End of the album but it’s not his swansong (yet).
I know you all hip hop purists may be mad bout this, probably expecting the god to lace this with more of the kind of songs in the last part of the album and the radio pop heads be asking where exactly are the songs you made for us? Truth is that the album sits on the fence, neither a commercial rap album nor pure hip-hop album but it produces some jewels like the Canibus song which got me mad excited and the Ice Prince song which was well liked by non-purists. Mode really needs to work on his publicity too because no one knows this thing is out
I know Mode albums used to getting real high reviews but this album is just some half decent joints and a couple real bangers mixed in with a whole lot of average stuff and also 8 songs too plenty . I give this a 6/10. I’m out
Reviewed by @iDozzy
*The opinions expressed in this article/review are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of notjustOk.com.*